November 27, 2008


As a keen, although amateur, observer of the human condition, I approach my self appointed status from two directions. When I notice something different about people around me (this can take an inordinate amount of time occasionally), I analyse it a bit and then wonder and test to see if this change applies to me. It could be physical, spiritual, attitudinal, age-related or any number of other alterations on any sort of level but primarily I spend some time in observation. The observation runs in two directions - towards the other person or people (it could be people or groups that I know personally or complete strangers) and then I begin to take a measure of myself to see if I exhibit these same changes or behaviours. An easy example might be erratic driving - I look to see if it has something to do with road conditions, driver age, time of day, full moon - basically I look to find common denominators and then look to see if I am a member of the group or not.

The other side of observing the human condition begins with myself. I may notice something different (eventually) and then look around to see if the same change is apparent in other people. I may be wrong but I often make the assumption that I am not that different from everyone else and if I am experiencing some sort of change then I assume that others are, or will, too. This one, I'm not sure about.

I've begun noticing since I passed the age-60 pole (could potentially be a clue), that I don't enjoy or practice certain physical habits that I used to be faithful to. Up until recently, I really enjoyed all of those small physical challenges during the day like reaching to get something or bending down to pick something up, heavy lifting, turning, twisting - anything that allowed me to feel a muscle stretch or increase the workload of my body. It always felt good to push myself a little beyond the comfort level. Gardening, golf, hanging Xmas lights, picking up grocery bags and holding them aloft, heck even vacuuming and laundry offered an excuse to flex and push myself. Now let's keep in mind that none of these little challenges resulted in any sort of terrifically athletic manoeuvres but they did allow me to stay in tone while maintaining the pear shape I have come to enjoy.

While sitting in a chair and bending to put my socks on this morning, it dawned on me that I have settled into a mindset of avoiding the stretch or the resistance of normal everyday activities for the past few months. It really is a state of mind rather than a physical limitation but the physical limitations are appearing a little too rapidly for my liking. I'm tempted to consult with Elvira, Queen of the Nazi Fitness Camp with whom I enjoyed such success prior to learning to surf last spring. However that would be just plain embarrassing at this point. The treadmill that I stare at every evening in the basement could perhaps be employed as something other than an electronic clothes hanger - my embarrassment would be private, at least. The excesses of Christmas including dinner parties, libations, fudge and other bon bons is upon us and I could talk myself into waiting until the New Year but will my human condition wait that long or do I need to stop observing and begin moving my ***!

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